Thursday, November 6, 2014

Twitter from a Christian perspective

A growing problem over the last 40 years or more has been the privatisation of religion. It is okay to believe just don't talk about it at work or in public - outside of family and church that is. Talking about neutral subjects like the kids etc is fine but don't be divisive. And so there was and is a growing gap between private and professional lives.

Os Guinness called it the private zoo in the gravedigger file summarised here.

“Privately engaging, socially irrelevant.”  This phrase succinctly summarizes what the Assistant Director calls “the private-zoo factor.”  It is a form of dualism that restricts religion to the personal lives of believers and prevents the Christian faith from invading “public life with integrity.” ....
 Unfortunately, many Christians—perhaps most—have come to accept this sort of dualism as normal.  Things of faith are “specialized” to their personal spiritual lives.  Faith must be left at the door, along with hats and coats, in the everyday world of work—all nicely summarized by the Assistant Director. 

Has social media made much difference - no not really.
Facebook - most people sensibly in my opinion try to separate there family life from their work life. In this data age having family and real friends and bosses / teachers etc all together in the same social media space is not a generally a good idea.

Blogging - this was an interesting development but its still non-integrative. If you blog the readers of that blog will be readers because of the topic and because you are a good writer. Its like reading a book - not reading the person.

Then along came Twitter.

Take a randomly look around the Twitterverse and there is a curious phenomena taking shape. More and more people it seems acknowledge their diverse private lives. They may follow a sports team, be a father, mother, potter or like a particular TV show. Its all there. Follow someone and you'll often see a little bit of their private and professional passions on display. Not interested ignore it.

With Twitter you follow a person an individual - their work and other interests. It may only be 140 characters and thus Twitter may seem an unlikely hero to re-unite private and public and make space for religion in the public square but I think that is actually happening to a limited degree.

Twitter has the opportunity to link the 2 worlds of 'private' and 'public'and so for Christians Twitter actually offers some very interesting creative possibilities.

However, I think that generally, Christians have been so tamed by the private zoo factor already that they do use it creatively enough. There is still too much where Twitter is is still just used as a single channel communication. Pastors tweet God stuff and other Christians just tweet work related stuff. We need to integrate our lives and reintroduce genuine faith and God stuff back into the public square. Twitter offers a rather unique vehicle to do that.

So go tweet.

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